Historical Guildford

When you’re spending the majority of your time studying, writing papers and exams, it’s important to take a break every now and then to recharge. One of my favourite weekend study break activities is heading into town, grabbing a coffee and walking around admiring the historical buildings. I’ve created a map of my favourite walking route with three must see stops. The route only takes about fifteen minutes without stopping so its the perfect size for getting some fresh air or giving yourself a much deserved break.

Route Map with the Guildhall & Tunsgate Arch (#1), Guildford Castle (#2) and St. Mary’s Church (#3) marked

To start, find your way to Guildford’s High Street and head towards GuildHall (133 High Street & #1 on the map). Built in the 16th Century, it features an iconic bracket clock that hovers over the high street. The building has served as a courtroom and council chamber and can now be hired out for private events. If you’re lucky the building might be open with vendors selling crafts inside and you can explore the Tutor style interiors with it’s original panelling. 

GuildHall as seen from the High Street

Opposite the GuildHall stands the Tunsgate Arch which can be distinguished by its four large white columns that open the High Street onto a pedestrian only street also called Tunsgate. It’s a covered outdoor market area that has historically hosted food markets and you’ll still find food and coffee vendors there every weekend. After walking through the arch continue up the Tunsgate until you hit Castle Street. Side note, if you’re in need of a snack I highly suggest Gail’s bakery which you’ll pass on the right. They make a blueberry muffin that is to die for and pairs nicely with an oat milk latte. 

Tunsgate Arch as seen from the High Street

Once you’ve reached Castle Street, directly in front of you is the Guildford Castle (#2 on the map). Believed to have been built around 1066 by William the Conqueror it has been used as a Royal Palace, Prison and Private Residence before being opened to the public in 1888 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee the year prior. I suggest taking some time to walk through the extensive grounds or even heading inside to climb up to the roof and take in the views of Guildford and the surrounding area. 

Guildford Castle from the surrounding gardens
Remains of the castle can be found throughout the grounds

After exploring the castle, exit onto Quarry Street and turn right. Half a block down on your left is St. Mary’s Church. Built around 1040 the Church’s tower is Guildford’s oldest standing structure. Lewis Carol, the author of Alice in Wonderland preached here in the mid Nineteenth Century under his real name Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. 

St. Mary’s Church as seen from Quarry Street

To finish, continue along Quarry Street and you’ll be back on the High Street before you know it. While this is just a taste of the historical buildings in and around Guildford, it’s the perfect little walk to give your mind a break from the never ending studying and a chance to appreciate the history around us. Let me know in the comment section what you think of the route and happy exploring!